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EQ vs. Tube Rolling?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I know it's fun to buy and install new stuff, but is there any reason why you can't just use an equaliser to do what any tube does? Is there any measurement that would favor a tube that gives extra bass vs EQ'ing up the bass?

 

When people say a tube gives extra "micro detail" don't they just mean that it ups the treble a bit? Why not just EQ up the treble? Potentially big $$$ for these rare tubes vs nothing for an EQ. 

post #2 of 13
I have found that some tubes add a little bit of euphonic distortion, which can be said to add a little bit of warmth.
This isn't anything you can add with an EQ.

Recording studios use tube mics, tube compressors, tube EQs, tube mic pre-amps.
If they thought they could do this with solid state EQ I'm sure they would.
post #3 of 13

I don't know about recording studios, but a tube adds extra harmonics to the signal. One harmonic is an octave higher. So some of these additions you'll hear as 'fuller' or 'warmer' sounds.

While this can be done digitally in DSP, there's no special motive to do so, unless you're making guitar amps.

And EQs won't do that either, unless you use some signal processing software.

Tubes just do that without any effort, so audiophiles stick with it.


Edited by proton007 - 4/19/12 at 6:17pm
post #4 of 13

USe the power within reach and EQ the hell of it.

post #5 of 13

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebel975 View Post

I know it's fun to buy and install new stuff, but is there any reason why you can't just use an equaliser to do what any tube does? Is there any measurement that would favor a tube that gives extra bass vs EQ'ing up the bass?

 

No.  You can roll different tubes that even the most objective ears says impart different tonal characteristics then measure the FR of the different tubes and they all measure w/ the same curve.  EQ changes the FR curve, Tubes dont.  At least ones that work.  Where the perceived difference lies is the question and some of us are working on it, when we get more time.  Maybe it's even order harmonics, maybe it's something else.

 

When people say a tube gives extra "micro detail" don't they just mean that it ups the treble a bit? Why not just EQ up the treble? Potentially big $$$ for these rare tubes vs nothing for an EQ. 

 

No, that's fake detail.  The micro detail I hear in tubes is throughout the frequency range, treble, mids and bass.  Deeper inner resolution that strips a recording.  I have yet to hear a SS device compare to the best tube amps in sheer resolving power.  I'll be looking more into more higher end SS devices to see if I can find something comparable.  Note, not all tube amps are good, uncolored transparent devices.  So don't take someones poor experience w/ SS or tubes as a reference.  So far devices like the O2, V200, DAC1, Beta22 all fall behind in this regard.  IME, YMMV.

 

It's curious to me that if distortion is causing the euphonic 'natural' experience of a tube amp, that I can extract more resolution from a noisier device.  So something in that argument seems amiss to me.  

 

Plus the notion that tube amps are a warm, gooey, muddled, inaccurate mess is a bunch of BS.  So are bad SS amps.

 

(Note that 'warmth' is used in two different ways often.  Bassy/colored vs smooth/analog.  Natural is a tricky word and so is neutral as that's relative to an empirical measure at the source versus perception at the ear.)

 

 


Edited by Anaxilus - 4/19/12 at 8:03pm
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

@Anaxilus: Thanks for the response. So any decent tube does nothing to change the FR? Very, very interesting.

post #7 of 13

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebel975 View Post

@Anaxilus: Thanks for the response. So any decent tube does nothing to change the FR? Very, very interesting.

 

A good working tube does not change frequency response, it will only distort differently than a solid state circuit.

Some argue that solid state has less distortion but it is more objectionable sounding higher order harmonics. 

post #8 of 13

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebel975 View Post

@Anaxilus: Thanks for the response. So any decent tube does nothing to change the FR? Very, very interesting.

 

Thats one of the main goals of building amps and I'm pretty sure that neutral tube amps exist, its just became easier to accomplish that with solid state, at a cheaper cost. Nowadays tubes are *mostly* used for their sound altering qualities (like in guitar amps) and differentiation.

 

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

It's certainly fascinating how something that is essentially a horrible lightbulb can be so good at making music. I'll have to do research on tube harmonics and such.

 

Thanks to all for the replies.

post #10 of 13

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebel975 View Post

It's certainly fascinating how something that is essentially a horrible lightbulb can be so good at making music. I'll have to do research on tube harmonics and such.

 

Thanks to all for the replies.

 

You forgot to mention that large power tubes make great space heaters!  wink_face.gif

 

In addition, tube amp circuits are normally far simpler than solid state circuits.

Some claim this makes tube amps "purer" sounding.

 

post #11 of 13

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post
Some argue that solid state has less distortion but it is more objectionable sounding higher order harmonics. 

 

That is not an 'argument', tubes/valves have more distortion than transistors, PERIOD .

It's the exact reason they are used by musicians and recording engineers .

When recording you are 'designing' sounds and often various forms of coloration are desirable .

As a guitarist I own several tube-amps (EL34,EL84,6L6 and 6V6) and I love them .

Bassists tend to disagree, most of the high-end bass-amp rigs are solid-state jobs .

 

But I would NEVER use a tube-amp to play back the recorded music .

Good tubes are expensive and rare and belong in instrument-amps .

They have no place in the play-back chain and they do NOT sound 'better' than a Solid-state amp .

 

 

post #12 of 13

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AKG240mkII View Post

They have no place in the play-back chain and they do NOT sound 'better' than a Solid-state amp .

 

Lol, I guess that's that.  Pray tell what's your reference SS amp and what tube amp have you compared it to?

post #13 of 13

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AKG240mkII View Post

 

 

That is not an 'argument', tubes/valves have more distortion than transistors, PERIOD .

It's the exact reason they are used by musicians and recording engineers .

When recording you are 'designing' sounds and often various forms of coloration are desirable .

As a guitarist I own several tube-amps (EL34,EL84,6L6 and 6V6) and I love them .

Bassists tend to disagree, most of the high-end bass-amp rigs are solid-state jobs .

 

But I would NEVER use a tube-amp to play back the recorded music .

Good tubes are expensive and rare and belong in instrument-amps .

They have no place in the play-back chain and they do NOT sound 'better' than a Solid-state amp .

 

 

 

I never said it was an argument.

Let me put it this way:

There are some who prefer the sound of music playback thru tubes.

 

This part is a fact:   a vacuum tube triode has a larger linear range than a Bipolar Junction Transistor.

Period.

Try designing a line level amplifier with ONE BJT.

Try designing a line level amplifier with ONE Triode.

But since you are an expert, and I know absolutely nothing about this, I defer to you............rolleyes.gif

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